Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: STAR WARS AFTERMATH by Chuck Wendig

Aftermath (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
STAR WARS AFTERMATH manages to blend elements from Rebels, the original trilogy, as well as instilling a new trilogy feel to it - quite a feat to incorporate the full breadth of Star Wars into a single novel. 

The end result? A mix mash of fan favorite feel that readies the reader for the journey to The Force Awakens. 

AFTERMATH centers around a rag tag group characters new to the extended universe cannon. Initially this didn't work for me. I wanted a Stars Wars book that showed me what Luke, Han etc had been up to since Episode VI. However, once I got to know these characters I really started to enjoy the book.

The new characters in Rebel pilot Norra, reconditioned battle droid Mister Bones, Norra's son and all-round tinkerer Temmin, ex-Imperial Loyalty Officer Sinjir, and assassin for hire Jas all get sufficient page time to make the reader form an impression and care for them.

The plot, despite the many and varied elements, is essentially about the Empire's struggle to regain a shade of its former glory in the confusion and disassociation of ranks following the loss of Vader, the Death Star and a number of high ranking officials. Enter Rae Sloane, Admiral in the Empire and chief antagonist who has a special something about her. She's brought together the last few serious contenders to the Empire's throne to form a united front in the battle to reclaim the Empire's stranglehold on the universe. On a little known plant this gathering should go un-noticed - yet it's not. 

The interludes teased a broader story across the universe focusing on some well known and not so well known characters/place-settings, however these bite size chunks of story were side sub plots rather than essential companion pieces to the AFTERMATH plot (in terms of the characters this novel showcases). Despite this, there was synergy with the epic star wars story in that everything centers around the aftermath (as per the aptly named title of the book) of the Death Star's destruction. Author Chuck Wendig showcases political, military, and social elements to the aftermath via these snippets while also teasing some brief cameos of well known characters (notably Han Solo and Chewie).  

Some well known ancillary characters from the movies have prominent roles in AFTERMATH, notability Wedge Antillies - the rebel pilot on a solo mission who stumbles across a secret meeting of Empire elites (or what constitutes 'elites' in the wake of the Death Star's destruction) on outer rim planet Akiva. And Admiral Ackbar who is head of military operations for the Rebel Alliance. Both pictured below:

Side note (Cannon EU): I'm also reading THE SHATTERED EMPIRE (a mini series of 4 comics set in the same period as AFTERMATH) and had hoped to see these two reads linked but, timeline aside, they are distinct reads from one another (as of #1). 

Rae Sloane features in A NEW DAWN (the prequel novel to the Star Wars Rebels TV series), given she was one of my favorite characters in AFTERMATH, I'll be bumping A NEW DAWN up the tbr list. 

Final thought: Whilst not what I was expecting and certainly not as enjoyable as the Thrawn Trilogy, AFTERMATH is a solid entry into the new Star Wars cannon. 

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